Dry forecast through middle of next week
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — It looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer for some decent snow, as the next storm system on the horizon is once again set to split, with most of the energy moving north and south of Colorado, with a dry forecast through the middle of next week.
The current storm continues to favor the San Juans, with another 8 inches reported at Purgatory and Wolf Creek the past 24 hours and 16 inches at Silverton Mountain. The snowfall came as far north as Snowmass, which reported 6 inches of new snow Wednesday morning.
The 48-hour torm totals for the San Juans — where the backcountry avalanche danger is high — include 16 inches at Purgatory and 14 inches at Wolf Creek, where the base is now a healthy 58 inches.
The Wolf Creek snowfall is reflected by the daily SNOTEL readings, which shows the Upper Rio Grande Basin as the only drainage with a moisture surplus, at 115 percent of average.
The basin encompassing the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan rivers is at 91 percent of average, while the Arkansas Basin is at 93 percent. In the northwestern part of the state, all the river basins have dropped below 80 percent of average, with the Colorado Basin at 73 percent.
In Summit County, expect a few flurries to linger through Wednesday evening over the higher terrain, with high pressure building in Thursday. The next storm system will “split dramatically,” according to the National Weather Service. Most of the storm energy will hit the northern Rockies, with the southern branch of the jet stream once again sagging far south to form a closed low near Las Vegas.
The mid-range models show another incoming system Monday on a trajectory from the northwest, which is more promising for snow, but some models yet again suggest the main storm will form over Arizona, keeping moisture to the south — good news for drought-stricken New Mexico and perhaps even Texas, but not so good for powder starved skiers and riders along the I-70 corridor.